Well-known food author and cooking expert Michael Ruhlman was recently in New York City and wrote about and quoted from Hervé This’sBuilding a Meal: From Molecular Gastronomy to Culinary Constructivism.
The post begins with a recipe for Vanilla sauce in black and white and then includes the following update from Ruhlman:
UPDATE POST MIDNIGHT, 4/17: It is the irony of fate that i was to join a conversation at NYU this afternoon hosted by a group called Experimental Cuisine Collective, in itself a lucky situation, and so had requested an early copy of a new book by French chemist and gastronomer Hervé This, because I thought it might be interesting fodder. The book is Building a Meal: From Molecular Gastronomy to Culinary Conservatism. I found it on the bed of my hotel room in a padded yellow envelope. The next day, yesterday, I found myself, one hand on an overhead bar, rattling back and forth on the F train from 57th to W 4th, reading this, exactly while the below comments were being written. Coincidence? Yes. But still:
The curious thing is that in the realm of cooking the question of preservation should be posed by scientists and not by cooks themselves, who have blithely gone about changing it in various ways, following their own aesthetic tastes. No one today any longer makes custard, for example, the way people did a hundred years ago. The number of egg yolks per quart (as many as 16) seemed excessive, and it was reduced without anyone wondering whether there was a law against changing the proportion. Cooks fixed up this or that room of the ancestral home without trying to form an overall idea of it, without imagining the long-term consequences of what they were doing.
The time has come to ask what we can renovate and what we ought to preserve. …–Hervé This